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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS
159
Ministers and higher State officials are still recruited amongst them, and as many of them have large landed estates, their influence is considerable. They constitute the chief conservative element in the country, and though many profess to be strong Nationalists they mostly belong to the moderate wing. To them the breach with Turkey means a great deal more than to other Egyptians. Many of them still had family connections in Turkey, and when they went to Constantinople they were treated there with distinction as Turks who merely happened to reside in Egypt. They looked up to the Ottoman Sultan as their hereditary sovereign and not merely as a shadowy suzerain. They had therefore a better excuse than most Egyptians for resenting the British Protectorate. But a good many have been profoundly alarmed by the tendency of the Nationalist propaganda to undermine every principle of authority, and with the memory of the first Nationalist movement under Arabi in their minds they do not feel at all certain that triumphant Nationalism would not turn upon them again and try to rend them as foreigners. They may not love us, but they would rather put up with us than become the servants of Egyptians whom they used to rule.
The reigning house, descended from the Albanian Mehemet Ali, is also of Turkish origin, and at the present moment occupies a more peculiar position than ever. The Nationalists hesitate at present to define their attitude towards the head of the Egyptian State, but some unquestionably incline in principle towards a Republican form of government. Hardly any disguise their distrust of the present Sultan Fuad, who spent most of his life in Italy, and talks Italian better than Arabic. They do not regard him as either a representative Egyptian or a representative Mahomedan. Of the other princes now in Egypt, Omar Tussoon enjoys to-day much the same respect as did the late Sultan Hussein, and for the same reasons, and without the disadvantage of having committed himself to the new order of things. Kemal-el-Din,
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